ATHLETICS PROFILE: Mike Mastroianni
As the assistant director of athletics for university programs, Mike Mastroianni is an important part of Carnegie Mellon’s sports. He schedules facilities for fitness, aquatic, physical education, intramural, and club events. Also, Mastroianni recently received the Boys’ Coach of the Year award for coaching and turning around the Bethel Park High School’s basketball program. This week, The Tartan sat down with Mastroianni to talk about his role within Tartan athletics.
Tartan: What brought you to Carnegie Mellon?
Mastroianni: I have a business degree and a master’s in sports management, and I did a graduate internship where I ran intramurals at Slippery Rock University. I always wanted to get into athletic administration at some level, and there was an opening here so I took it. I have been here for 21 years.
T: What is unique about intramural and club sports?
M: We try to create an atmosphere where the intramurals and clubs are “varsity” games. Not everyone can play at the varsity level, so we try to keep that atmosphere for those students.
T: What does your job entail?
M: We schedule all of the facilities, the games, and contests. We run everything on a daily basis. We have 40 different activities going on during the academic year, and there will be a lot of crossover with events going on at the same time. It is continuous, so it really never ends during the academic year.
T: What have you personally done to improve our athletic programs?
M: When I came here, there wasn’t an official club and there was individual scheduling. We made it more serious, making the games more important. We enhanced the whole intramural atmosphere by having officials, by making it a big ordeal. We created a women’s IM All-Sports trophy that is awarded to the team that wins the most points throughout the course of the year. That is great because it helps increase participation and keeps people interested, keeping them active.
T: Do you try to balance the amount of men’s and women’s teams?
M: In intramurals, we offer everything for men and women. If we don’t, women can participate on the men’s side. We won’t limit them because there aren’t enough numbers. Women can play in an all-women’s league, but then play minors with a combination of some guys — women would play against an all-male team just to enhance participation.
T: What is your favorite part about being in charge of Carnegie Mellon’s athletic programs?
M: There are always new activities going on. IMs are really popular. They are avenues that help release the demands of the day academically. There are only 400 campus varsity athletes in the 17 sports we offer, but then we have another 6000 who get their release through IMs.
T: Are there any sports that you would still like to add?
M: We have a student board, so if it is recommended to us and there is student interest, then we will add it. We have added and taken some sports away over the years based on participation. We added pickle ball and euchre, and things of those sorts.
T: Do you think that some clubs could eventually become varsity sports?
M: We are restricted by our facilities because we are landlocked in the city. I think we ask our stadium and our intramural fields to do more than they can handle.
For us to add more outdoor sports — for instance, men’s lacrosse — we couldn’t do it. Because of Title IX we would have to add two sports, and two sports becomes very demanding of our facilities, [and] right now our demand is already at its highest level.
Club sports roller-coaster depending on participation of the students and how active the student leaders are. Our club sports are strong now, but when club sports ask me to become varsity, they lose what is special about club sports: flexibility. Practicing three times a week with a club sport at the type of school we are at, and being able to play a game on the weekend, may be a perfect match, whereas the demands of a varsity athlete may be too much for most. Sometimes what you wish for is not always what it seems.
T: Have you considered incorporating your coaching skills into Carnegie Mellon athletics?
M: Coaching has a lot to do with who you are dealing with and managing personalities. I use my coaching skills on a daily basis just doing my job.